National Archives and Records Administration - ARC 39227, LI 210.6 - BARRIERS AND PASSES, ca. 1939 - ca. 1945 - DVD Copied by Ann Galloway. Department of the Interior. War Relocation Authority. (02/16/1944 - 06/30/1946). Scenes of living conditions of Japanese Americans in the relocationcenters during World War II.
February 7, 2012 Subject:
Color WWII film
"The National Board of Missions Presents Barriers and Passes
The cooperation of the War Relocation Authority have made possible this picture.
In 1941 over 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry were living on the West Coast of the United States. Many were engaged in agriculture, others were craftsmen, fishermen, and professional people. They were peaceable and hard-working; their living standard rising to approximate that of the average American family, their church allegiance above the average and their crime record much lower than that of Caucasians. Japanese-American youth were outstanding scholastically and in athletics in Pacific coast schools and colleges."
Shots of 1940's San Francisco and Japanese Church of Christ.
Title card: "then came Pearl Harbor. The area in which these people were living immediately became a strategic military zone.
Were they fifth columnists?
Some were - and these aliens were immediately arrested by the F.B.I. So thorough was this 'purge' that J. Edgar Hoover was recently able to say 'Up to the present there has been no proven act of sabotage on the part of any Japanese in continental United States or Hawaii.
Within a few months, because of the urgency of the situation, these people two-thirds of them American citizens by birth, or by an act of Congress in the case of veterans of World War I, were ordered to evacuate their homes.
Said one, speaking for the 70,000 American-born Japanese, known as 'Nisei,' 'we faced a neat dilemma. We could stand on our citizenship rights and resist evacuation, or serve our country by doing what we were told. We chose the latter.'"
Shot of Japanese couple having their ID papers checked, behind barbed wire.
...this is just the first few minutes of the film.
The rest of the film shows life in the relocation camps.
The film ends with title cards that say
"Do we believe in democracy? Are we truly Christian? What is our responsibility to these people in our midst?"